Considering her background as a former art student, it’s not surprising that Alison Goldfrapp — one half of British electronic duo Goldfrapp, along with Will Gregory — finds visuals as crucial a component to her music as the sounds from her synthesizer. The singer, who will be performing at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on June 23, found hued imagery a crucial process in compiling her band’s latest album “Head First.”
“I like colors that give the music a narrative. Visual ideas come about when I’m writing music, as well. Quite often, color comes to mind. Each album has a color and feel about it,” says Goldfrapp, who envisioned metallics when working on “Head First” (she also art directed the album and the upcoming world tour). “It’s very jubilant and euphoric.”
The same might be said of the Grammy-nominated musician’s approach to her wardrobe, which has gained her a following and has at times seemed to place her ahead of the fashion curve. Take the stiff military coat and ankle boots Goldfrapp sported in her 2001 video for “Pilots,” a look seen on fall 2010 runways. Or the black-and-white fringed skirt she donned in the band’s 2003 video for “Train,” which appears to be a precursor to the mangled Goth gowns in Rodarte’s current spring collection.
And, if legions of girls start shredding their chambray shirts this summer, credit can be given to the dancers wearing such styles while shimmying in the sun-baked desert in Goldfrapp’s recent video for “Rocket.”
She also has proved adept at referencing pop culture, as she did for the video of her latest single “Alive,” which references zombies, vampires and everything Eighties in a workout schema filled with gold-tipped fangs, pastel-colored leotards and a “Tron”-inspired light show.
“She’s like a gym instructor from another planet,” Goldfrapp says of the gold-lamé-loving character she portrays in the “Alive” video. “I like clothes that have a sort of narrative to them and say something about a character. For me, I love the sort of theatrics of clothes and what they can do.”
Despite the dramatic, attention-getting looks that infuse and surround her work, Goldfrapp claims she prefers to play it incognito during her downtime.